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Monday, 14 November 2016 00:00

New study questions “bad” cholesterol link to heart disease

A new study has been published in the British Medical Journal that could possibly disprove the current view that people with high levels of “bad cholesterol” (LDL-C) are at higher risk of dying early. 
 
Up to now studies have shown that cholesterol levels increased with age and therefore people with high levels would need statin drugs to lower their levels of cholesterol or risk dying of cardiovascular disease. 
 
Researchers analysed the findings of 68 000 participants over the age of 60, from previous studies and in each one found a lack of evidence linking LDL-C with deaths resulting from cardiovascular disease. This is the first time a review has been done of previous studies on the issue.

Research indicates that high cholesterol may even protect against common elderly diseases

Other studies have suggested that high levels of “bad” cholesterol has also been linked to lower levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and even some cancers. 
 
"Our findings provide a contradiction to the cholesterol hypothesis. That hypothesis predicts that cardiovascular disease starts in middle age as a result of high LDL-C cholesterol, worsens with ageing, and eventually leads to death from cardiovascular disease. We did not find that trend. If LDL-C is accumulating in arteries over a lifetime to cause heart disease, then why is it that elderly people with the highest LDL-C live the longest? Since people over the age of 60 with high LDL-C live the longest, why should we lower it?" David Diamond, a professor at University of South Florida, said in a statement.
 
Despite findings of this study, this type of news needs to be absorbed with caution, these show very early findings and until further studies are done and proof of this is absolutely conclusive, it is best to talk to your healthcare professional about your cholesterol levels. Stopping medication without consulting a doctor can be extremely dangerous. 

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